The only thing faster than Ahmia Monk speeding up Interstate 5 on Tuesday morning was the arrival of her newborn granddaughter.
While Monk’s daughter labored in the passenger seat of the white Chrysler PT Cruiser, Monk was hightailing it from her Lakewood home to Tacoma General Hospital about 1 a.m.
“I knew once she came, I wasn’t stopping for nobody,” the 55-year-old said.
Neither was little True Legend-Rose Huff.
One moment 26-year-old Shadae Huff was crying out in pain and saying she wanted to push. And the next she said simply, “The baby’s here.”
Huff said she was initially unsure what to name her daughter. But after delivering her in a mad motorized dash to the hospital, she thought, “Yeah, she’s a Legend.”
Monk was on the phone with another family member, asking her to alert the hospital they were on their way. She glanced over and saw her daughter holding the baby against her chest — Monk’s eighth grandchild and first granddaughter. She saw the umbilical cord, and then her daughter’s finger held between the cord and the newborn’s neck.
Monk lifted her hands to her mouth and cried out in surprise. Huff told her to put her hands back on the wheel.
That’s when she realized she had missed the first I-5 exit to the hospital. And the baby wasn’t crying, which worried them both.
“I freaked out, to be honest,” Monk said.
The doctor had scheduled to induce Huff’s labor at 5 a.m. Tuesday. He checked with her Monday, and she was fine.
Monk expected to accompany her daughter to the appointment and return home. She gets light-headed around blood, so in prior births she waited for the text message to go and meet the newest member of her family.
More than four hours before the appointment, however, Monk was awakened by her daughter calling out from her room in the house she shares with her mom.
Monk thought she was dreaming. She wasn’t. Huff was in labor.
So much for that text message.
After the high-speed delivery, Monk cranked up the heat for the baby, took the next I-5 exit and hit at least 60 mph in the uphill homestretch to the hospital.
Hospital staff were waiting. They immediately cut the cord, and the baby started crying as soon as she was lifted out of the car. Everyone was whisked inside.
Other than a low temperature, the newborn was healthy and came home Wednesday afternoon. She weighed 6 pounds, 12 ounces and measured 19 inches. They had to guess at the time of birth: 1:15 a.m.
Mother and daughter said that while they’d never wanted to repeat the experience, it has brought them closer.
“It was a bonding moment,” said Huff, the single mother of four children ranging from infant to age 8. “That was cool. It was a moment we’ll never forget.”’
Christian Hill: 253-274-7390